Abstract Title:

Opioid receptor antagonism in the nucleus accumbens fails to block the expression of sugar-conditioned flavor preferences in rats.

Abstract Source:

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2010 Mar ;95(1):56-62. Epub 2009 Dec 13. PMID: 20006967

Abstract Author(s):

Sonia Y Bernal, Khalid Touzani, Meri Gerges, Yana Abayev, Anthony Sclafani, Richard J Bodnar

Article Affiliation:

Neuropsychology Doctoral Subprogram, Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY, USA.


In our prior studies, systemic administration of the opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone (NTX) did not block flavor preference conditioning by the sweet taste or post-oral actions of sugar despite reducing intake. Because opioid signaling in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) is implicated in food reward, this study determined if NTX administered into the NAc would block the expression of sugar-conditioned preferences. In Experiment 1, food-restricted rats with bilateral NAc shell or core cannulae were trained to drink a fructose (8%)+saccharin (0.2%) solution mixed with one flavor (CS+) and a less-preferred 0.2% saccharin solution mixed with another flavor (CS-) during one-bottle sessions. Two-bottle tests with the two flavors mixed in saccharin solutions occurred 10 min following total bilateral NAc shell or core doses of 0, 1, 25 and 50 microg of NTX. The rats preferred the CS+ over CS- following vehicle (80%) and all NTX doses in the shell and core. The CS+ preference was reduced to 64% and 72% by 50 microg NTX in the shell and core, although only the core effect was significant. In Experiment 2, food-restricted rats were trained to drink one flavored saccharin solution (CS+) paired with an intragastic (IG) glucose (8%) infusion and a second flavored saccharin solution (CS-) paired with an IG water infusion. In subsequent two-bottle tests, the rats displayed significant preferences for the CS+ (81-91%) that were unaltered by any NTX dose in the shell or core. CS+ intake, however, was reduced by NTX in the shell, but not the core. These data indicate that accumbal opioid antagonism slightly attenuated, but did not block the expression of sugar-conditioned flavor preferences. Therefore, while opioid drugs can have potent effects on sugar intake they appear less effective in altering sugar-conditioned flavor preferences.

Study Type : Animal Study

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